Tourism figures up and down

Stay-over tourism arrivals were up 2,951 passengers – 13.2 per cent – in November compared to the same month in 2006.

However, cruise tourism for the month was down 23,139 passengers – 14.4 per cent – over November of last year.

The stay-over arrival figure of 25,227 was the highest for November since before the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001.

The November figures are somewhat buoyed by the fact that Pirates Week now takes place in that month rather than October; however Pirates Week moved to its new date last year.

November marked the seventh consecutive month that tourism figures surpassed the same month last year. Despite the increases, the Cayman Islands will unlikely hit the goal of 300,000 air arrivals set by the Department of Tourism for 2007. With only December’s figures to be added, the total for the year stood at 261,248.

With a good December, however, air arrivals should surpass the highest level they have since 2003, when 293,517 stay-over tourists visited the Cayman Islands.

Cruise ship passenger arrivals continued their downward spiral. For the sixth straight month the figures fell below the corresponding month last year. Still, cruise passenger arrivals will likely top 1.7 million for the year, substantially more than any year prior to 2003.

With the 137,234 cruise passengers that visited in November, the 11-month total stood at 1,553,637.

Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford has downplayed the reduction of cruise ship passengers this year, noting that the figures for 2006 were artificially inflated because of additional arrivals of ships scheduled to visit ports in Mexico that were devastated by Hurricane Wilma in November 2005.